Friday, 15 May 2009

The Belgian school of elephant husbandry



So. Where were we? Ah yes, elephants.


There is an elephant at Antwerp Zoo that is expecting a baby. The whole of Belgium has been waiting for the birth of the baby elephant since last year. The baby elephant is coming! It has its own website! It is due in March! There is a competition to choose its name! We can watch the birth live on the zoo webcam!


Yeah. Well. March came and went. And April. I have been muttering 'hysterical pregnancy' for weeks now, whilst clicking on bébé éléphant repeatedly to check on Pjo Pjo's progesterone levels. I know more about that creature's hormones than my own (shut up). I have played 'pin the head on the ultrasound foetus' after Monk pointed it out to me. She said she 'considered signing up for a text alert when baby is due, by which time mobiles will be obsolete and we will be communicating via ESP'. This looks increasingly likely. We have compared notes on the latest update which says that apparently Pjo Pjo is crying, which may conceivably mean she is anxious because the birth may possibly be imminent (desperate qualifying clauses, well done Antwerp Zoo, could you make it sound any less probable). If I had been pregnant for TWO YEARS I would be crying too. Pjo Pjo we are all with you. Be thankful your relatives aren't all on the phone every five minutes asking you how you feel, or if there's any news.


Also causing me great entertainment is the shamefaced video 'update' from the keeper, answering the question on the whole of Belgium's lips : HOW could you get it SO WRONG? Apparently he says, in a pained fashion, they 'missed a mating'.


Let us just reflect for an instant on that. Are you telling us, Antwerp Zoo, that you missed TWO ELEPHANTS HAVING SEX? You didn't notice at all? Were you, perhaps, busy watching 'C'est du Belge' at the time? Dancing to the Sound of Music in Central Station? Enjoying your cat throwing festival?



Belgium. You are bewildering.

16 comments:

The Subtle Rudder said...

It was one of those ill-advised quickies. I bet Pjo-Pjo didn't even get the fellow's name, which will make tracking him down for baby elephant support especially tricky.

My WV is "bortspin," which may, in fact, be the name of this sort of up against the wall, in, out, and gone ele-sex.

Please keep us posted on the little bastard's arrival (or debunking).

JPM said...

Wow. Belgium really can be... :) quirky. Thanks for sharing the Sound of Music dance number. I loved seeing the regular commuters getting into it too. For some inexplicable reason it moved me to happy tears! ..a world where things like this do happen is just swell. Have there been any Whangdoodle sightings in Belgium lately?

Persephone said...

If I had been pregnant for OVER A YEAR I would be crying too. Um... Isn't an elephant pregnancy supposed last twenty-two months?

monk said...

I love how in his interview he (the expert) gratefully jumps on the due date the journalist suggests: "Yes, of course, why don't we say 15th May"

Elephant sex monitoring FAIL, Cedric.

monk said...

And persephone, cedric says 645 days, but he gives himself a fairly large margin of error, and seeing as he has no idea what date he is counting from I think can safely ignore his predictions. I trust Jaywalker more. Let's start a sweepstake

bevchen said...

HOW do you miss two elephants having sex? The mind boggles...

Nothing like that ever happens around here. No fair!

redfox said...

If I were pregnant with a baby elephant, I would cry equally at being pregnant for so long and at the prospect of actually giving birth to the very-long-baked elephantine product. Poor Pjo-Pjo.

whatan@hole said...

Yes, I agree, elephants having sex you would think would have at the very least been in SOMEONES peripheral vision. . . .unless . . What were "they" doing that was sooooo much more interesting?

Nimble said...

Thank you for the cat-throwing link. I have learned a new Flemish phrase in translation. The next time I don't want to go some where I will say that I'm sending my cat instead.

Wife in Hong Kong said...

I think the mating elephants must have been hiding in the corner of the room along with the pink techtonik dancing one.

KSV Woolfoot said...

Oh, the things I don't know about Belgium and the things I never could have guessed! Thanks for the link to the YouTube video of Belgians dancing to "Doe, a Deer" (or whatever that's called). One thing I learned last year when I read a biography of Julie Andrews (OK, yes, I am sort of fascinated by Julie Andrews)- she has a long history of suing people. I hope for the sake of all those lovely dancers that she did not feel infringed upon...

Lydia said...

That's me, that's me! Wow, my first link from Ms Emma Jaywalker Waffle.

See, this is why I need to learn French. How do I sign up for the SMS alerts? Will there be a national holiday? And the name, the name?

Poor Pjo Pjo. Jaywalker, you are the sole conduit between the worlds of the monolingual humans and the enigmatic elephants. Keep us informed.

Ali said...

I just looked at the website and am sure I saw mention of mucus! WITH pictures. I can not really understand it, please to translate for me?

rivergirlie said...

one thing that i am finding particularly bewildering in this whole bewildering story is, how do you pronounce pjo pjo?

Mrs Jones said...

Well, the birth of the baby elephant even made it to the hallowed portals of the BBC - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8054575.stm

I can't believe they even had big screens up in the town square....

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